Women's Basketball: Cagers fall at Villanova
Despite Niveen Rasheed’s game-high 15 points, the women’s basketball team (6-4) fell to Villanova (8-1) 61-54 at The Pavilion. Princeton dropped its second straight matchup in a four-game road stretch, losing to Delaware on Sunday, while the Wildcats extended their win streak to seven. However, Villanova and Delaware are among the Tigers’ toughest opponents this season, highlighting their non-conference schedule.
Early play involved heavy contesting on the boards, and strong defense limited the Tigers and the Wildcats to a combined 16 points midway through the first half, with Villanova leading 10-6. A deadlock seemed likely with just under four minutes remaining in the frame, but a 9-4 run by the Wildcats with three and a half minutes to go had Villanova up 26-18 heading to the locker room.
“It was tough to bounce back from a slow start,” sophomore guard Blake Dietrick said. “But we made improvements in the second half, and we’re ready to learn and get better moving forward.”
Improvements for Princeton certainly came in the second half, but may have come too late. It was only with under six minutes left in the game that the Tigers finally found their shooting stroke, as Princeton went on an 8-0 run that cut the deficit to four, 45-41. Villanova quickly halted Princeton’s resurgence with a 7-0 run of its own, a run that created an 11-point deficit at 54-43 that the Tigers could not overcome in the game’s dying minutes.
An underwhelming performance from Villanova’s starting lineup, which Princeton’s starting five outscored 38-32 and outrebounded 23-19, found major compensation in a bench that scored almost half of its team’s points. Guard Caroline Coyer scored a team-high 12 points for the Wildcats off the bench, nine of which came in the second half. The Tigers are not down on the loss, though, and look forward to continuing their road stretch against Illinois State next Wednesday night.
“It was a tough loss,” said junior forward Kristen Helmstetter, who put up 11 points on the night. “We have a lot of unfortunate injuries right now, but I have a lot of faith that we will bounce right back. We have a full week of practice in order to prepare for our next games, and we will continue to get better.”
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